Elba

Elba (ĕlˈbä) [key], island, 86 sq mi (223 sq km), Tuscany, central Italy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, 6 mi (9.7 km) from the Italian mainland, part of the Tuscan Archipelago. Iron ore has been mined there since Etruscan and Roman times, and there are ironworks at Portoferraio, the island's main town. Wine, olive oil, and fruit are also produced, and there is a large tourist industry. Elba has come under numerous foreign powers, including Syracuse (mid-5th cent. B.C.), Pisa (11th cent. A.D.–A.D. 1399), Spain, and Naples. It was briefly (May, 1814–Feb., 1815) a sovereign principality under the exiled Napoleon I, who improved the island's roads and agriculture. After Napoleon's dramatic escape from Elba and his subsequent exile to Saint Helena Island, Elba passed to Tuscany.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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